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Prep Dance FAQs

We understand you may have questions about Prep Dance. We’ve assembled these FAQs to help provide the answers you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to audition?

Session Classes: For the Pre-Ballet classes (ages 4-7) and Ballet & Modern 1, students may join our program for a Fall, Winter, or Spring 12 week session. We also offer discounted tuition if you enroll for the full year in September. If you missed the deadline, don’t hesitate to email our office at preparatorydance@cornish.edu!

Training Program: For Ballet Levels 2 through 7, students must have previous training and will be assessed by the director for placement in the appropriate level. Placement is determined by ability, not by age or level at a previous ballet school. Students who have been placed en pointe in another program will be assessed for consideration to study pointe work, as well as for placement in the appropriate level in the Cornish Preparatory Dance Program.

All students (returning & new) need to apply to our program to register for classes by completing the Extensions / Preparatory Dance Application. For new students, follow the instructions for “First-time users” by entering in the Primary Guardian’s email address and the student’s name and date of birth. Returning students should log in and fill out a new application each year.

At what age do students perform in the Nutcracker?

Prep Dance students may perform in The Nutcracker when they are enrolled in Ballet at the Primary level and above. Students must maintain excellent attendance for both classes and rehearsals and be able to actively listen and work as part of a group. Parents of performers support the rehearsal schedule by ensuring performers attend all rehearsals and also support the performance process through volunteer activities.

What is the time commitment for this training?

The time commitment starts at 60 minutes 1 day per week for students in Creative Dance and increases to 11–15 hours per week (up to 6 days a week) for advanced students who choose to participate in elective classes such as Conditioning for Dancers, Composition, and the performance company, in addition to ballet, modern, and jazz technique classes. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the time commitments:

Creative Dance /Pre-Primary/Primary, ages 4 – 8: 1 day per week; 1.0 hour class
Ballet & Modern 1, ages 7–9: 1 – 2 days per week; 1.0 hour class
Ballet 2, ages 8–11: 2 days per week; 1.0 hour class
Ballet 3, ages 9–13: 2 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
Ballet 4, ages 11-14: 3 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
Ballet 5, ages 12-16: 3 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
Ballet 6, ages 14–18: 3 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
Ballet 7, ages 15–18: 4 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
Contemporary Modern 2, ages 10–13: 1 day per week; 1.0 hour class
Contemporary Modern 3, ages 14–18: 1 day per week; 1.5 hour class
Jazz 1, ages 9–13: 1 day per week; 1.0 hour class
Jazz 2, ages 14–18: 1 day per week; 1.5 hour class

Do you offer make-up classes?

As a courtesy to our students, we offer a limited number of make-up classes free of charge. We encourage students to make up classes that they have missed due to illness or other unexpected emergencies.

Students are limited to eight (8) make-up classes total for the 36 week long program and two (2) for the 12 week session courses. No make up classes are available for our 8 week session courses. The number of make-up classes available are prorated when students join after our program start date.

  • Classes may be made up before the actual absence date.
  • Students must fill out a Make-Up Class Request Form and receive a confirmation from our office that there is space available for a make-up prior to attending.
  • Students may make up classes in their level or a level below.
  • Make-up classes must be within the same discipline as the class missed. (ie: If Sally missed Ballet 5, she can make-up in Ballet 4. Sally cannot make-up her missed Ballet 5 class in a Jazz class.)
  • Students making up classes are considered guests and are to let the enrolled students in the class come to the front, take their place at the barre and be respectful. Students taking class in another level should wear their own designated class leotard so that the instructor is aware of the student’s proficiency.

What is your Refund Policy for the 12 week session courses?

Withdrawal from the program is subject to the tuition refund schedule below which is specific to each program. If you must withdraw from the program, please email extension@cornish.edu and include the courses in which you are withdrawing.

Students may be eligible for prorated tuition if they must withdraw due to prolonged illness, severe injury (verified by a doctor’s note) or other unforeseen circumstances; and upon approval of the Program Director.

A $25 per month late fee will be applied to tuition received after the due date.

Students are accepted into the Extension Program for a 12 week session.  Registration is by first-come, first serve. Tuition is due by the start of classes. There are no refunds if withdrawing week 4 or later of the session.

Withdrawal before the start of class(es)

Fall: Sept 7
Winter: Nov 29
Spring: Mar 14
100% refund

Withdrawal from week 1 to end of week 3

Fall: Sept 8 – Sept 27
Winter: Nov 30 – Dec 20
Spring: Mar 15 – Apr 4
50% refund

Withdrawal week 4 and after

Fall: Sept 28 – Nov 22
Winter: Dec 21 – Mar 14
Spring: Apr 5 – Jun 13

No refunds

What is your Refund Policy for the 36 week training program?

Withdrawal from the program is subject to the tuition refund schedule below which is specific to each program. If you must withdraw from the program, please email extension@cornish.edu and include the courses in which you are withdrawing.

Students may be eligible for prorated tuition if they must withdraw due to prolonged illness, severe injury (verified by a doctor’s note) or other unforeseen circumstances; and upon approval of the Program Director.

A $25 per month late fee will be applied to tuition received after the due date.

Students are accepted into the Extension Program for a 36 week school year.  Registration is by first-come, first serve. Tuition is divided into 8 monthly payments. There are no refunds if withdrawing week 23 or later of the session.

Withdrawal before the start of class(es)

Sept 7
100% refund

Withdrawal from Week 1 to end of Week 7

Sept 8 – Oct 25
75% refund

Withdrawal from Week 8 to end of Week 15

Oct 26 – Dec 20
50% refund

Withdrawal from Week 16 to end of Week 22 + during winter break
Dec 21 – Feb 28
25% refund

Withdrawal Week 23 and after
Mar 1
No refunds

Are there any male students?

Yes, there are male students training in Prep Dance, and we always welcome more!

What age is a good age to start dance training?

The Cornish Preparatory Dance Program offers creative movement and pre-ballet classes to students ages 4 and up. For the young dancer who is mature enough to understand the structure and demands of a ballet class, Ballet and Contemporary Movement 1 (for students 7 to 9 years of age) is offered once and/or twice a week. Having built a strong foundation of ballet technique and vocabulary, students age 9 and up are encouraged to diversify their training by adding contemporary and jazz dance classes.

When do you start pointe work?

Pointe work is the cumulative result of gradual training of the whole body, and readiness is contingent upon many factors. Students entering Ballet 5 may be considered candidates for pointe work, dependent on instructor assessment. Each student is assessed independently to determine the appropriate timing for the start of pointe training.  Factors that determine pointe readiness include:  physiologic development, anatomical facility, strength of technique, hypermobility of the feet and ankles, length and frequency of study, attendance habits, maturity, and past injury. Students often begin the study of pointe work at around 12 years of age. The study of pointe is not a requirement for advancement through the levels or participation in the performing company.

How many performance opportunities are offered?

You can find additional information on our performance opportunities page.

8 & 12 Week Session classes: An informal performance demonstration in the studio will happen during regularly scheduled class time on the last class of each session. These are free and a great opportunity for family and close friends to see what the students have been working on all session.

Year End Demonstrations: In our 36 week training program, students have the opportunity to participate in our Year-End Class Demonstrations at the end of the program year in PONCHO Concert Hall.

Performance Companies:

  • Companies 1, 2, & 3 perform in the Nutcracker in December.
  • Companies 1 & 2 perform a mixed-repertoire concert in the spring. Company 3 does not perform in the spring repertoire concert.

What is your attendance policy?

Cornish Preparatory Dance Program takes its training responsibility to each student very seriously. The opening exercise is designed to prepare the students physically and mentally for the rest of the class.

Students are expected to attend all classes they are registered for except in the case of illness or injury. If students are well enough to observe class, they should either fill out the observation form (located on the 3rd floor bulletin board) or participate in modified class exercises specified by their instructor.

Students that arrive late miss the first exercise and disrupt the class focus. If a student arrives late they stand at the door to the class or at the edge of the dance floor and wait for the instructor to speak to them.  It is up to the instructor whether or not to allow the student to participate if they are late. Students who are 5 minutes or more late will not be allowed to participate, but will be allowed to observe class.

We understand that running late is at times unavoidable; however, if it becomes an ongoing occurrence, you might consider transferring to another day and /or time.

Extracurricular commitments that interfere with attendance on a consistent basis should be discussed ahead of with the program director.

Do you have a dress code?

Students at each level of the program are required to wear the appropriate leotard and color assigned to their level. Convertible ballet tights are worn at all levels, except in the Creative Dance, Pre-Primary and Primary levels, where socks are worn. See the dress code requirements section under each class description for specific details.

Do you have an open house?

We encourage new students and their parents to make an appointment to take a tour of our facilities and get an orientation to our program at any time. Please contact preparatorydance@cornish.edu or 206.726.5034.

Do you have observation days?

8 & 12 Week Sessions: An informal performance demonstration in the studio will happen during regularly scheduled class time on the last class of each session.

Training Program: Twice yearly we open the studios to family for class observations.

How do I register?

Click “Register” and apply to our program by completing the Extensions / Preparatory Dance Application. For new students, follow the instructions for “First-time users” by entering in the Primary Guardian’s email address and the student’s name date of birth. Returning students should log in and fill out a new application each year.

Is there an individual evaluation process for each student?

Students in the 36 week training program receive a mid-year written evaluation sent out in mid-January (halfway through the program year). Ballet 3 and 4 students also receive a conference with their instructor. In addition, students may schedule a conference at any time with the director of the program.

Once students reach high school, we provide additional counseling for students who are interested in pursuing a career in dance or who wish to continue their training at the college level. This mentoring helps prepare students for the next phase of their dance lives.

All students are sent their recommended level placements for the following year in June following the Year-End Demonstrations.